Uncontrollable movements include many types of movements that you cannot control. They can affect the arms, legs, face, neck, or other parts of the body.
Examples of uncontrollable movements are:
There are many causes of uncontrolled movements. Some movements last only a short time. Others are due to a permanent condition of the brain and spinal cord and may get worse.
Some of these movements affect children. Others affect only adults.
Causes in children:
Causes in adults:
Physical therapy that includes swimming, stretching, walking, and balancing exercises can help with coordination and slow the damage.
Family support is important. It helps to openly discuss your feelings. Self-help groups are available in many communities.
Call your health care provider if you have any unexplained movements that you cannot control and that do not go away.
The health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms and medical history. You will have a detailed examination of both the nervous and muscle systems.
Medical history questions may include:
Tests that may be ordered include:
Treatment depends on the cause. Many uncontrollable movements are treated with medicines. Some symptoms may improve on their own. Your health care provider will make recommendations based on your signs and symptoms.
Uncontrolled movements; Involuntary body movements; Body movements - uncontrollable; Dyskinesia; Athetosis; Myoclonus; Ballismus
Jankovic J, Lang AE. Movement disorders: diagnosis and assessment. In: Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, eds. Bradley’s Neurology in Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 21.
Lang AE. Other movement disorders. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman’s Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 417.
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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